O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad

O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad

O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad with balsamic dressing is simply incredible! This hearty dinner salad is loaded with tasty toppings and is sure to be a favorite.

copycat O'Charley's California chicken salad and balsamic dressing.

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What Makes O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad One of the Most Desired Salads?

It’s hard to imagine a better salad than O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad! It’s so good! It combines grilled chicken with mandarin oranges, candied pecans, strawberries, dried cranberries, blue cheese crumbles, and homemade dressing. It’s wonderful for its ease and delectability. 

You can make O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad in just a few minutes, and the dressing is just as easy. It’s so easy to make from scratch that this recipe will soon be one of your favorites!  

Why This Is the Recipe You Should Try 

You can make something wonderful from leftover chicken in just a few minutes. Alternatively, turkey would be a good option for this creamy salad.

You can serve this over mixed greens as a delicious lunch. Or scoop it onto a croissant for a wonderful sandwich treat you can take with you. 

Ingredients For O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad

For this recipe, you’ll need the following:

Salad:

  • Olive oil
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast, uncooked & cubed
  • Salt & pepper
  • Shredded romaine lettuce
  • Roma tomatoes, diced
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Candied pecans 
  • Fresh strawberries, sliced 
  • Mandarin oranges, drained
  • Dried cranberries 

Dressing: 

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Honey
  • Brown sugar
  • Minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
O'Charley's California chicken salad ingredients.

How To Make O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad

To prepare this recipe, here are the instructions:

  1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Set the dressing to one idea until you’re ready to use it.
  2. Over medium heat, add olive oil to a medium-sized cooking skillet. Heat the oil for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. The chicken should be cooked through after 6-8 minutes of cooking in the skillet, tossing frequently. Allow the chicken to cool after removing it from the heat.
collage of making balsamic dressing and cooking chicken pieces.
  1. Put the lettuce in a large mixing or salad bowl.
  2. Scatter the salad toppings over the lettuce.
collage of adding chicken, mandarin oranges, and tomatoes on top of romaine lettuce.
collage of adding toppings to O'Charley's California chicken salad.
  1. Top salad with homemade dressing before serving.
  2. Garnish with additional blue cheese crumbles, pecans, strawberries, oranges, and dried cranberries (optional if desired). 
copycat O'Charley's California chicken salad in a white bowl.

Recipe Variations

You’ll love this recipe just as it is, but to give you some more options, here are some variations you should try. 

  • One of the most popular variations involves guacamole or avocado slices. Add a dollop or cut up some avocado to add that delectable flavor. 
  • Replace the cooking of the chicken with rotisserie chicken purchased from a store to get that flavor variation you’re still sure to love.
  • Use fried chicken you make yourself or buy from the store or restaurant. Depending on what kind of fried chicken you use, you can add spicy accents to your favorite recipe. 
  • Scoop your O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad onto a croissant or sourdough bread slice for a sandwich that’s easier to eat at work or when you’re on the go. 
  • Use a tortilla or lettuce to wrap your chicken salad into another on-the-go favorite treat. 

While these are some of the most popular variations, you can also try variations on the fruit for your O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad. You can also add in jalapenos or green chile to give the recipe a bit more kick. 

Top Tips for O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad

Here are just a few of my favorite top tips and tricks I use to make O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad even better! 

  • Be sure to give the dressing an additional mix before adding it to the salad. 
  • In addition to pouring the dressing over the final salad, you can serve individual portions of it. 
  • Fruity, fresh, and zingy, this salad is sure to please! Chicken adds a savory base to the salad. The bitterness of the cheese and the zinginess of the fruits give this salad a very tasty balance!
  • Despite the fact that all ingredients are notable in each bite, it’s hard to pinpoint the predominant taste in this salad. The cheese, strawberries, pecans, chicken, and dressing all take center stage. 
  • A bitter, zingy taste permeates the dressing. It’s perfect for this salad. 
  • You can also use store-bought balsamic vinaigrette instead of homemade dressing if you’re looking for an even faster prep time.

How to Store O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad

Airtight containers are ideal for storing leftover chicken salad for up to two days. It’s still safe to eat after two days, but your avocado may start to brown (if you’ve added it to the recipe). You’ll probably enjoy your O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad more if you eat any leftovers in the first day or two. 

If preferred, you can store your O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad in a small bowl, covered with plastic wrap. You can freshen the recipe with lime juice. 

Note: According to the FDA, you should not eat your chicken salad if it’s been sitting out for more than 2 hours.

closeup of copycat O'Charley's California chicken salad.

Favorite Salad Recipes

Check out more of my easy salad recipes and the best chicken recipes on CopyKat!

copycat O'Charley's California chicken salad and balsamic dressing.

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O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad

O’Charley’s California Chicken Salad is fruity, tangy, crunchy, and cheesy. A delicious dinner salad to make with this copycat recipe.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 378kcal

Ingredients

Dressing

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Salad

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • ½ cup mandarin oranges drained
  • 2 roma tomatoes diced
  • ½ cup fresh strawberries sliced
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • cup candied pecans
  • cup blue cheese crumbles

Instructions

  • In a small mixing bowl, blend together all ingredients for the dressing. Set to the side until ready for use.
  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes.
  • Over medium heat, add olive oil to a medium-sized cooking skillet. Allow oil to heat up for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add chicken, salt, and pepper to the skillet and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, tossing frequently, until the chicken is cooked through. When done, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Place the lettuce in a large salad bowl.
  • Top with oranges, tomatoes, strawberries, cranberries, pecans, and blue cheese crumbles.
  • Toss to combine all the salad ingredients.
  • Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss it to combine. Or you can serve the dressing on the side.

Notes

Give the dressing an additional mix before adding it to the salad. You can add the dressing to the entire salad or to individual servings.

You can substitute the homemade dressing with store-bought balsamic vinaigrette.

You can also substitute cooking the chicken with store-bought rotisserie chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 787mg | Potassium: 473mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 2412IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 1mg